It’s hard to find bad blood between too many teams today in the NBA, but maybe to some people’s surprise, having the Los Angeles Clippers playing against the Golden State Warriors as the desert to the Christmas schedule might end up being about being more than just basketball.
There seems to be a lot of animosity towards the Clippers, especially due to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. They’re known for their flopping, but the team’s lob city persona hasn’t helped them be considered popular among their opponents, unlike their rising presence on t-shirts and in the media, turning into the better team in the city of Los Angeles.
The Clippers are heading into this game on the back of a five-game winning streak, with the last four being at home. They do have a problem on the road this season, but their most recent win over the Timberwolves, coming from a seemingly impossible situation, without a fouled out Blake Griffin and an ejected Matt Barnes, goes to show how deep this team is, and how difficult it might be to put them down.
The Warriors are struggling with consistency. Mark Jackson keeps talking about defense, but Andre Iguodala is going to need more time before he’s comfortable once again in the starting lineup, and the team more than anything seems to be dependent on Stephen Curry’s shooting ability at the moment, which isn’t what they’re supposed to be at this point of the season.
In the last game between the two teams the Clippers won 126-115, getting 42 points from Chris Paul. The Warriors turned the ball over 24 times in that game, including 11 by Stephen Curry. Not losing their heads will be a key aspect in this game, but actually putting on a consistent defensive performance should be more important. David Lee, usually the weak link in the Warriors’ defense, is going to be the most important piece, especially if Andrew Bogut can’t play.
Prediction – The home team usually wins when these two teams meet, but the Warriors haven’t been very convincing of late, and Andrew Bogut not being completely fit for the game will be too much for them against the currently superior Clippers.